Mustapha Marong, onetime attorney general and minister of Justice in Yahya
Jammeh government has told the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission
(TRRC) chaired by Dr. Lamin J. Sise that he believed that Ousman Koro Ceesay,
the then Finance minister in the Yahya Jammeh government was killed and that
all the civilian ministers in the Yahya Jammeh government Cabinet believed that
Koro Cessay was murdered, noting that the death of Koro Ceesay was never discussed
or was a non-issue before the AFPRC.
He declared that not a single butut was paid to the late Koro Ceesay family and there was no coroner’s report/inquest made as to the death of the said Finance minister.
Barrister Marong told the Commission that his office was vested with the powers to prosecute crime in the country and was also the legal adviser to the government.
He revealed that on the 23rd of June, 1995 whilst at home, he received a call from lawyer Ousainou Darboe, leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP), erstwhile vice-president of Adama Barrow coalition government that one Bakary Njie, a UDP supporter was arrested and he made call to the then vice –chairman of the AFPRC, Lt. Edward Singateh who was not present but later returned his call and informed about the arrest of the said UDP supporter.
Barrister Marong told the Commission that shortly after Mbamba Tambedou, then a minister and cabinet colleagues called him informing that Ousman Koro Ceesay’s vehicle was found incinerated in the bush at Jamburr village.
He further told the Commission that then Works minister, Tambedou explained that Ousman Koro Ceesay was at the airport with other ministers to see off Yahya Jammeh except those ministers who travelled with him to the Africa Union Summit in Addis Ababa.
Marong said he informed Tambedou that he just spoke to Lt. Edward Singateh but Singateh never told him about Koro Ceesay’s death.
The witness revealed that he then called Susan Waffa Ogoo, then minister for Tourism and Culture to commiserate with her on the death of Ousman Koro Ceesay.
Ex-minister Marong said Susan Waffa Ogoo expressed disappointment at the manner the death of Ousman Koro Ceesay was handled in The Gambia, noting that the news was already spreading like a wild fire in the neighbouring Senegal but Gambia government was keeping mute over the death of its Finance minister.
Marong said Susan Waffa Ogoo told him that she spoke to Edward Singateh and it was like hitting his head on the wall.
Ex-Justice minister said when he called Edward Singateh and informed him that there was a foul play in Koro Cessay’s death and he observed that there was a crescendo in the tone of Edward Singateh
Marong told the Commission that he visited the deceased’s father, Sainey Ceesay in his residence at Dippakunda and he had informed him that the matter would be investigated.
He noted that Koro’s father essentially stated that the death of his son was not accident.
He averred that whilst he met Edward, he asked him why was the government silent over the death of Koro Ceesay, pointing out that Edward replied that the pathologist Dr. Oilfield had suggested that there should not be announcement until the pathologist made his report.
Marong said he told Edward that the continuous silence is a bad signal to the government.
Barrister Marong told the Commission that he was in cabinet meeting in which the then Secretary General Mustapha Wadda, Tamsir Demba Mbaye, secretary to the cabinet, and other ministers were in attendance when Edward Singateh managed to make a less than two minutes tribute to Koro Ceesay.
At this point, the witness told the Commission that the AFPRC was drunk with powers and that they didn’t care about the law, adding that it was an aberration for Captain Ebou Jallow to have negotiated the 35 million dollars loan when the Finance minister was around to do so.
He said Koro Ceesay was excluded from the 35 million dollars loan negotiation, adding that sacking Ousman Koro Ceesay wasn’t fine with them but to silence him.
He disclosed that Koro Ceesay was his friend and a friend to everyone in the cabinet, adding that Ousman Koro Ceesay was betrayed and assaulted by Yahya Jammeh.
Then Justice Minister said Yahya Jammeh also made a passive statement on the death of Koro Ceesay and he stated his death was an act of GOD.
He told the Commission that Yahya Jammeh told the then Interior minister, Lamin Kaba Bajo in his presence that he should proceeds with the investigation quietly.
Marong further told the Commission that he heard that Ousman Koro Ceesay was lured into Yankuba Touray’s residence where he was killed and then he heard of the convoy of vehicles that was seen driving towards Jamburr village with Ousman Koro Ceesay official car among them.
Hearing continues today.